The time has come for Donald “Duck” Long’s fall Radial extravaganza, No Mercy. Held each fall at South Georgia Motorsports Park, No Mercy and its twin held in the spring, Lights Out, are two of the largest and most talked-about events in the nation. With $60,000 on the line for Radial vs the World, this year will likely draw even bigger crowds and more internet buzz — a tall order considering SGMP had to turn away spectators in the spring after Lights Out drew a massive crowd to the facility.
With all of the chatter about who will take home the big prize, we’ve compiled a betting line – purely for fun, not actual gambling – of our Top 16 RvsW competitors, listed in order of most likely to win the race. We would love to hear from you in the comments if you think we got it right, or who you would have on your list!
16) 50/1 – The Field
With $60,000 on the line, No Mercy 7 is likely to draw more Radial vs the World entries than ever before. Among them are sure to be some surprise entries that nobody saw coming, as well as better-than-expected performances from some familiar faces. And of course, you just cannot count out good fortune. A few good passes, a couple of lucky breaks, and any number of cars could take home the money, making the field a fairly smart wager.
15) 40/1 – Justin “Big Chief” Shearer
With a beefy new cast aluminum block anchoring his Butler Performance Pontiac between the framerails of his swoopy, lightweight Firebird pro mod, Big Chief is looking to step way up in the radial ranks. He was out testing this week in preparation for the big show, and if all goes well, look for him to qualify well and take a shot at the big payday and small-tire infamy.
14) 33/1 – Tim Slavens
Slavens is still a relative unknown to many RvsW fans, but got a lot of attention after taking out Keith Berry at Outlaw Street Car Reunion 3 in Memphis in the spring. He also ran well at Radial Fest last weekend, earning him a spot here. Look for this twin turbo Hemi-powered Camaro to play the role of spoiler again for some of the bigger names on this list.
13) 30/1 – Marty Robertson
Marty has already made waves in pre-race testing with his blown Barracuda. Gone is the ProCharger from the nose of the gorgeous Plymouth, replaced by a monstrous screw blower. If Robertson can keep the tires planted and the engine happy with all that air being forced through it, he could easily be the last man standing.
12) 20/1 – Barry Mitchell
As was revealed right here on Dragzine last week, Barry Mitchell has built one of the most well-rounded radial cars in recent memory, and has a proven track record at big events (he won two classes at Lights Out 7). The only reason he’s not closer to the top of this list is a lack of testing, though Keith Berry proved in the spring that testing is not a prerequisite to finding the winner’s circle. This may well be the smartest bet on the list!
11) 18/1 Mark Woodruff
The nicest guy in all of radial racing is primed to break through and take the win at one of Duck’s races. Perennially competitive and consistent, “Woody” is one lucky break away from the winner’s circle. While he’s been down for a while due to a testing accident that sidelined him for a couple of months, his proven combo should quickly be back up to speed now that repairs are complete.
10) 15/1 – Josh Klugger
Klugger has laid down some great passes, but has lacked the consistency to find himself in the winner’s circle much of the past couple of seasons. However, Klugger did runner-up at Shakedown at the Summit a few weeks ago, so this Florida-based team may be on the path to consistency.
9) 13/1 – Jamie Hancock
Hancock has proven he can win on the big stage in more ways than one, and after clicking off a string a ET’s between 3.89 and 3.91 at Radial Fest last weekend, it looks like the original radial Pro Mod may be looking to return to the head of the radial world at No Mercy.
8) 12/1 – Keith Haney
The object of plenty of light-hearted ridicule, Haney has shown a penchant for seeking out the retaining wall in his Pro Nitrous-style Camaro. However, he’s also shown he can go fast almost at will, with 3.7-second performances in his similiarly-prepared big tire car, so if he can keep the car in the sticky part of the track, there’s no reason Haney shouldn’t be considered a favorite to win.
7) 10/1 – Mark Micke
One of the elder statesmen of small tire racing, Micke has found consistency lately that should have his legion of fans confident in his chances. If he keeps running strong, repeatable passes, look for the blue Malibu to be going rounds at SGMP.
6) 9/1 – Kyle Huettel
The Big Texan’s Corvette has proven to be one of the quickest and most consistent cars over the past couple of seasons. Couple that with Kyle’s fiery competitiveness and the BAD9ER team has to be among the favorites to take home the $60K.
5) 8/1 – Daniel Pharris
Wheeling Andrew Alepa’s gorgeous C7 Corvette, Pharris has consistency, power to waste, and excellent driving abilities — the perfect combination of factors to take home the win. This is yet another Texas-based team that’s very likely to find pay dirt on Sunday.
4) 7/1 – Jeff Sitton
Sitton will be behind the wheel of the quickest radial car on the planet, the Killin’ Time Racing Pro Nitrous Camaro that Steve Jackson wheeled to a 3.75 earlier this year at Northstar Dragway. While Sitton has less seat time than Jackson, he’s proven himself more than capable of managing a badass nitrous radial hot rod — himself holding the radial ET record in “Hyde”, his fourth-gen Camaro grudge car-turned small tire rocketship, last year at No Mercy VI.
3) 6/1 – Keith Berry
The only reason Keith Berry, the defending Duck X Champion, isn’t number one on this list is the fact that he is again coming into the event with a brand new, untested combination. That didn’t stop him at Lights Out, but it’s hard to put a green setup as the favorite among the best competition in the world. Can Berry pull off the double? We’ll know in about a week.
2) 4/1 – Steve Jackson
Steve “Stevie Fast” Jackson has a legion of fans who admire both his stellar driving abilities and his well-documented, no-holds-barred smack talk. Behind the wheel of “Shadow”, the Phil Shuler-owned Mustang grudge car he’s driven for several years now, Jackson’s record has few blemishes, but rare tardy light cost him the win at Lights Out back in the spring. Look for Stevie to be out for redemption this time around.
1) 3/1 – DeWayne Mills
If consistency and huge numbers are the name of the game, Mills has certainly earned the top spot on this list. Currently the quickest turbo car in radial history, Mills went 3.79 in the hottest part of the summer, showing this team really has a handle on the power management of their hotrod. It would be hard to choose any car that would be favored against Mills heads-up, and the Oklahoman has proven he can go rounds, taking home the Radial Wars championship in the NMCA ranks this season and winning several other significant radial events in between.
So there you have it, our picks and odds for the biggest radial event in history. Keep an eye out this week as Dragzine will be on the property at SGMP bringing you all of the action in our same day coverage!